Whether you're an entrepreneur looking for investors for your small business, or the CEO of a large corporation, a business plan can help you succeed and is a critical component for long-term growth.
In fact, one study found companies that use business plans grow 30% faster than those that don't.
A business plan includes a company overview, your company's short-term and long-term goals, information on your product or service, sales targets, expense budgets, your marketing plan, and a list including each member of your management team.
While a thorough business plan is necessary, it's equally critical you provide readers with a short, attention-grabbing executive summary, as well. A CEO or investor might not have the interest or time to read your full business plan without first getting the general gist of your company or goals through a brief synopsis.
Essentially, an executive summary is the back cover of your book, convincing readers that it's worth their time to read the whole thing.
An executive summary is a brief overview at the beginning of your business plan. It's a section that grabs the reader's attention, and summarizes critical information regarding your company overview and upcoming short-term and long-term goals. Ultimately, the executive summary is meant to inform readers of the most important information in your business plan, so they don't have to read it all and can get caught up quickly.
To write an impressive executive summary that effectively embodies all the important elements of your business plan, we've cultivated a list of necessary components for an executive summary, as well as an example to get you started.
What to Include in Your Executive Summary
Your business plan should convey your company's mission, your product, a plan for how you'll stand out from competitors, your financial projections, your company's short and long-term goals, your buyer persona, and your market fit.
To create a business plan, take a look at our business template.
An executive summary, then, should be a short, maximum two-page synopsis of the information provided in your business template.
Ultimately, an executive summary should provide a preview for investors or CEO's, so they know what to expect from the rest of your report. Your executive summary should include:
- The name, location, and mission of your company
- A description of your company, including management, advisors, and brief history
- Your product or service, where your product fits in the market, and how your product differs from competitors in the industry
- Financial considerations, start-up funding requirements, or the purpose behind your business plan — mention what you hope the reader will help your company accomplish
To understand more tactically how an executive summary should look, take a look at the following example:
Executive Summary Example
Maria's Gluten Free Bagels offers delicious gluten-free bagels, along with various toppings, other gluten-free breakfast sandwich items, and coffee. The facility is entirely gluten-free. Our team expects to catch the interest of gluten-free, celiac, or health-conscious community members who are seeking an enjoyable cafe to socialize. Due to a lack of gluten-free bagel products in the food industry currently, we expect mild competition and are confident we will be able to build a strong market position.
The Company and Management
Maria's Gluten Free Bagels was founded in 2010 by Maria Jones, who first began selling her gluten free bagels online from her home, using social media to spread the word. In 2012 she bought a retail location in Hamilton, Massachusetts, which now employs four full-time employees and six part-time employees. Prior to her Bagel Shop, Maria was a chef in New York and has extensive experience in the food industry.
Along with Maria Jones, Gluten Free Bagel Shop has a board of advisors. The advisors are:
- Jeni King, partner at Winding Communications Ltd.
- Henry Wilson, president of Blue Robin, LLP
We offer gluten-free products ranging from bagels and cream cheese to blueberry muffins, coffee, and pastries. Our customers are health-conscious, community-oriented people who enjoy gluten-free products. We will create a welcoming, warm environment, with opportunities for open-mic nights, poetry readings, and other community functions. We will focus on creating an environment in which someone feels comfortable meeting a friend for lunch, or working remotely.
Our Competitive Advantages
While there are other coffee shops and cafes in the north shore region, there are none that offer purely gluten-free options. This restricts those suffering from gluten-free illnesses, or simply those with a gluten-free preference. This will be our primary selling-point. Additionally, our market research (see Section 3) has shown a demand for a community-oriented coffee and bagel shop in the town of Hamilton, MA.
Our sales projections for the first year are $400,000. We project a 15% growth rate over the next two years. By year three, we project 61% gross margins.
We will have four full-time employees. The salary for each employee will be $50,000.
Start-up Financing Requirements
We are seeking to raise $125,000 in startup funds to finance year one. The owner has invested $50,000 to meet working capital requirements, and will use a loan of $100,000 to supplement the rest.